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'Does the moon look bigger to you tonight?'

The Book of Ataniel

Close Your Eyes And Follow Your Dreams Down

Ebreth squinted incredulously over his shoulder at the hole in the night sky and the huge industrial-looking chunk of masonry lying in the sand where he’d been standing a few moments ago. “This place is so fucked up,” he said aloud.

“Tell me about it,” sighed Lita, propping herself up on her elbows beneath him. “So much for my dramatic entry, I guess. You wait twelve years to get a reaction out of somebody and that’s the exact minute an earthquake has to hit.”

“Well, I hadn’t thought of a reaction yet anyway,” Ebreth admitted, and stood up from her a little awkwardly. “Are you--another Hotel avatar, then?”

“No,” she said. “I’m a ghost. I came in with Mina. She’s been harboring my wandering spirit for the past, oh, seven years now.”

“She has?” Ebreth blinked at her. “Really? But... does Lora know?”

“I haven’t exactly built my career on letting my mother know when I’m not where I’m supposed to be,” she murmured, her eyes deep and distant. “She’d rather think I’m in Heaven right now, believe me. But I have--unfinished business here.”

There was a long and uncomfortable pause. Ebreth wasn’t entirely sure he wanted to know what that was. “So you, uh,” he finally said. “You’ve been with Mina this entire time, and neither of you ever said anything? Not even to Jack?”

“Jack can’t keep a secret,” she said. “He never could. I would have told him, but then he would have told my parents and Mina’s and probably Uncle Asinus.” She looked off at the sunset, a bold swirl of colors on the East Seas horizon. “And you,” she said very softly. “I guess I kept hoping you might care enough to figure it out on your own. It’s not like we didn’t drop enough clues or anything.”

“Now look,” Ebreth started, and pressed the heels of his hands into his eyes, leaning his head back against the nearest palm tree. “Look, it didn’t have anything to do with you,” he said instead. “I was a total shitbag. You should have listened to your mother.”

“No, I shouldn’t have,” she murmured to herself.

“I’m sorry,” Ebreth said. “Look, I don’t know what else to say.”

“You don’t have to say anything, not really. Not this time.” She got up and crossed to him, put her index finger to his lips. “All you have to do right now, is listen.”

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'Does the moon look bigger to you tonight?'

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